You might have noticed that many cars these days don’t have a front license plate, and you don’t want to use one either. I’ll explain why this is important for the look of your car and how you can get away with no front license plate if your state requires it.
I don’t use a front license plate on my car. I think it looks better without it. You’ll see this in car launches and professional photoshoots too. They usually don’t have a front license plate because it shows off the car’s design better and looks neater. However, not all states allow this. Many states require you to have a front license plate, and I think this can spoil the look of the car.
But, like window tinting rules, many states don’t strictly enforce the front license plate rule. In my state, the legal tint limit is 35%, but many people go darker, like 20%. I might tint my car to 20% too. It’s one of those rules that they don’t enforce much unless you’re driving aggressively or they need a reason to stop you.
A Front License Plate Takes Away the Beauty But is Mandatory in Some States
If you are in a state where cars need a front license plate, most car dealers will probably have to drill holes in the front if you are getting a new car. Even if they don’t attach the plates right away, they might still drill the holes to avoid any liability. That’s what happened with my car. When I got it, they had already drilled the holes but waited for me to decide if I wanted the front plate or not, which was considerate. But honestly, I didn’t want holes in the front bumper because it doesn’t look great. You might not be able to see it well, but here are the two holes.
I need to clean the bumper, but you can tell the holes don’t look nice. And the license plate bracket they were going to use, but waited for me, is really big and not attractive. Let me show you.
Here’s the bracket they were going to put on the front. It’s pretty big and doesn’t look good.
I’d prefer just the plate, but I’m definitely not using this bracket. So, when buying a new car, be careful. You probably don’t want them to attach this or even drill the holes. If you have a good relationship with your dealer, you might be able to get them not to drill the holes.
How to Get Away with No Front License Plate
Sometimes, it’s not the cops you have to worry about but the parking enforcement. An officer who decides to be rude can just ticket you for no front plate. If you have been stopped by the police before, you want to play it safe and put on a front license plate, even if your state isn’t strict about it. But there are some ways to get away with no front license plate.
1. Place it On Your Front Windshield
The first and most common way is to use a front windshield mount. The license plate should be kept in the passenger side of the windshield. Of course, it won’t block the passenger’s view. You can simply place your license plate there, where it’s easily seen. This doesn’t need any tools; you just put the plate in the mount. But if you want, you can buy Con-Plates interior license plate holder. Most states require the front license plate to be visible, so this should work. However, it depends on the police officer. They might want it on the front bumper, where it’s usually supposed to be, instead of on the windshield.
2. Use a Front Bumper Mount
If your car has no space for drilling a hole, you can get a front plate mount kit. With this, you can customize the position of the license plate on your bumper. It is also easier to take it off this way whenever you decide not to use a front plate. Of course, the mount is often designed in such a way that you do not need to bolt it to your car. Here is one example of a product you can buy for this purpose.
The installation of this product is easy, and the overall sturdiness is good, but there is a bit of flexibility in the direction of the plate. Tighten the screws properly to avoid issues, especially when driving on the freeway. However, if someone were to accidentally bump into the plate, it might get crooked. The tow stud, made of aluminum, is quite soft. I recommend using some grease (like lithium grease) during installation. After screwing it in, I used the smaller aluminum adapter and bolt to ensure a tight fit. Attaching the plate that holds the license plate with an Allen screw, I made sure it was extremely tight, even though it scraped off a bit of paint. But that’s not a concern since it’s hidden behind the plate. The license plate was easy to attach with the provided screws, and the end result looks great.
This product is very close to the bumper when using the smaller adapter for the B-Z. It’s very sturdy and significantly cheaper than a $75 Grimmspeed alternative. I highly recommend it if you want to avoid drilling holes in your bumper.
Although it doesn’t adjust to fit the curvature of the bumper like more expensive models, it still looks sturdy and clean on a BRZ, especially with the smaller adapter. The product is made of high-quality aluminum and is simple to install, bolting directly onto the car’s tow hole. It has 8 mounting holes to ensure the plate doesn’t block any vents or lights and offers angle adjustment to accommodate any curves on the car’s bumper. The black powder coat with a matte finish adds to its appeal.
3. Install a Clip On License Plate Holder
Contact the dealer and see if they have any no-drill options since your vehicles may have clip on front brackets available. If you cannot do it yourself, a body shop can do it for a fair price, usually under $50 or lower than that. Below, I have recommended two products you can use to get away with no front license plate:
I bought the BGGTMO License Plate Bracket Holder to get away with no front license plate and here’s my take. The product arrived as described. It resembles carbon fiber with a glossy finish. It’s a cost-effective alternative to real carbon fiber, and it looks great on my SUV.
The quality is impressive, surpassing my expectations. It doesn’t look cheap and fits well on both moderately priced and more expensive SUVs. The frame I had on my old car was taken by the dealer, but this new one is ad-free and looks better.
A note on installation
The instructions are average, but the process is simple. I give it a full 5-star rating, based on my experience and a small installation tweak. By doubling the rubber pad thickness using the provided cut-outs, I eliminated any potential noise or vibration issues.
Overall, the instructions could be better, but the installation is easy. I recommend this product for its quality and appearance. It’s a noticeable upgrade from standard dealer frames. I paid the full price for this product, and my review is based on my honest experience.
Another useful tool for a no-front plate experience is this BGMVFK Universal Front Bumper License Plate Mounting Kit. It includes everything you need for easy installation: a plastic license plate bracket, an aluminum frame, stainless steel screws, insert nuts, and carbon fiber screw cap covers. It’s a great choice for mounting a front license plate on various vehicles like BMW, Tesla, Nissan, and others, including trailers. The installation process is simple since all the necessary hardware is provided.
However, I encountered an issue with the screws provided for attaching the plate to the frame; they were too short. The seller does include a note offering free longer bolts upon request via email, but this is quite inconvenient. Discovering the need for longer bolts mid-installation means you have to pause the process, contact the seller, and then wait for the new screws to arrive. Most people would probably just go to a hardware store to buy longer bolts and finish the job quickly. Due to this inconvenience, I’m giving the product 4 stars. It’s frustrating to have to find a workaround when slightly longer screws included in the package would have solved the problem. While the short screws could be a problem, it is overall a good clip on license plate bracket.
4. Use a Retractable License Plate Holder
The other method is using a retractable device from Amazon. This lets you show your license plate normally when driving, but it can retract under the bumper at a car meet. These retractable kits are popular at car meets. People usually have their plates on while driving, but at a car show, they retract them under the bumper. This makes the car look neater when it’s on display at the show.
5. Install a License Plate Wrap/Decal
A License Plate Wrap (LPW) is a different kind of front license plate that is DMV legal and a state-approved way to get away with no front license plate. It’s made from reflective vinyl and can be read by license plate readers. It looks like the usual metal plate but is made of vinyl. You can’t use it on the back of the car, though. Usually, the front license plate comes from the dealer, not the factory. You can ask the dealer not to drill holes in the bumper and just give you the parts for the front plate. Then, put on the wrap yourself. You can just stick the temporary paper plate on the front bumper. The vinyl plate, like the ones from the DMV, has slightly raised letters and numbers. The front decal costs $120 plus shipping from the License Plate Wrap store.
Putting it on is pretty easy once you figure out the middle of the car and how high or low to place the plate. You can cut half an inch from the top and bottom of the decal to make it fit right. Also, consider a matching color with your car like this one.
The license plate wrap’s reflectivity is tested and is like a regular license plate.
You can also get a smaller vinyl plate for motorcycles from Adhesive Replica – Custom License Plates, and more. It’s just the right size for smaller spaces. If your dealer drilled holes for the bracket, now you should be trying to fill them in so you can use this vinyl plate. In California, you can even order a license “decal” when you’re getting special interest plates.
Not having a front license plate can make your car look super neat, especially at car meets or shows. You can keep it hidden. So, I have just talked about a few ways to do this, like putting the plate on your windshield or using a kit to hide it under your bumper. But remember, check your state’s laws before you decide to go without a plate. You don’t want to get tickets because of something avoidable. If your state is strict and requires a plate, maybe get one of those kits. This way, you can show your plate when needed but easily take it off for car shows or photo shoots. Just make sure you are not getting unwanted attention from the police while driving around.